When Amazon's Prime Video and showrunners J.D. Payne & Patrick McKay's The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power was first announced years ago, it was safe to assume that fans expected Peter Jackson to be involved. In fact, the Oscar-winning director of "The Lord of the Rings" and "The Hobbit" trilogies thought so himself back in 2018, telling UK's Metro, "I think they're going to send us some scripts to see if we can help them along." So with less than a month to go, we're learning just how much of Jackson;s magic we will be seeing on our streaming screens. None.
Speaking with Scott Feinberg on The Hollywood Reporter's Awards Chatter podcast, Jackson revealed that those scripts never came. "They asked me if I wanted to be involved – [writer-producer Fran Walsh] and I – and I said, 'That's an impossible question to answer without seeing a script.' So they said, 'As soon as we get the first couple scripts, we'll send them to you.' And the scripts never showed up. That's the last thing I heard, which is fine," Jackson revealed. "No complaints at all." Jackson elaborated further during an upcoming episode of THR's The Business podcast, sharing with Kim Masters essentially the same sentiment. "About four, five years ago, they asked if I would be interested in it. So I said, 'Have you got the scripts yet?' Because I know how hard the scripts were to write for the films, and I didn't know the people writing their scripts. They said, 'Oh no, we haven't got the scripts yet, but as soon as we do, we'll send you the scripts.' So I was waiting for the scripts to arrive, and they never did," he said.
In response to Jackson's comments, Amazon Studios issued the following statement: "In pursuing the rights for our show, we were obligated to keep the series distinct and separate from the films. We have the utmost respect for Peter Jackson and 'The Lord of The Rings' films and are thrilled that he is looking forward to watching 'The Rings of Power.'" Based on THR's report, Amazon Studios, Payne, and McKay "privately attempted to make overtures" to Jackson, but there were strong legal concerns over keeping the films and streaming series separate. In addition, Amazon's former head of genre programming Sharon Tal Yguado was a huge advocate for having Jackson involved before departing the company in 2019. But perhaps the biggest factor is a long-standing beef between J.R.R. Tolkien's estate and Jackson that stems back to the original films:
Sources say author J.R.R. Tolkien's estate was against having Jackson on board. This shouldn't be surprising as the estate had no involvement with his films and Christopher Tolkien has previously slammed the trilogy in the press as "eviscerating" his father's books, claiming they turned his novels into action movies for young people that lack "beauty and seriousness." But the estate is involved with the series – Amazon paid the estate an astounding $250 million for the rights to make the show.
For his part, Jackson is excited to see how the streaming series enhances J.R.R. Tolkien's universe. "I'll be watching it. I'm not the sort of guy who wishes ill will. Filmmaking is hard enough. If somebody makes a good film or TV show, it's something to celebrate. The one thing I am looking forward to is actually seeing it as a perfectly neutral viewer," Jackson explained.